The scientific explanation for being hangry.

You know that feeling when you’ve skipped on lunch to attend an all important meeting only to find at 3pm you’re tired/angry/ready to commit murder? Turns out that’s not just an irritating feeling, but actually a serious physiological occurrence. It’s called ‘hangry’, because of the base words angry and hungry. Which you are currently feeling. That’s why you clicked, right?

The Huffington Post has tabulated some studies that suggest why this state of ‘hangry’ occurs. Turns out it’s to do with low glucose levels in the blood, caused by a lack of eating, that manifest into aggressive behaviour.

Image: iStock.

And it makes total scientific sense. As one study puts it, "Aggressive and violent behaviors are restrained by self-control. Self-control consumes a lot of glucose in the brain, suggesting that low glucose and poor glucose metabolism are linked to aggression and violence."

Exercising self-control all day long uses a lot of energy, largely in the form of glucose. As Medical News Today explains, our bodies break down food to make glucose, which helps the brain function. A simple shortage of this essential sugar (like when you haven't eaten in the past, say, eight hours) can hamper the brain's ability to exercise self-control, one study suggests.


Apparently, when your glucose levels are low, your body tries to make up for the lack thereof by producing hormones. Unfortunately, the hormones they release (namely, adrenalin and cortisone) make you more aggressive. Oops.

Image: iStock.

So how do you combat your murderous rage? Follow the four hour rule says Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition practice in NYC. Try and eat a serving of protein and fibre every four hours to stave off the cravings (you're more likely to binge on junk food if you leave it this long).

And try to avoid your partner if you've passed the eight hour mark.

They might ask for a divorce.

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